You know that cheese you can smell the stink of from a kilometre away? Blue Cheese, yes, and I can’t stand it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like cheese. Quite the contrary. I even use it as a hiking snack along with a pack of simple crackers available in any neighbourhood shop. It’s the cheese that used to involve begging Europe-bound friends, but all that has been fixed since artisanal gourmet cheese made in India arrived in the markets. And there’s a good bunch of these independent cheesemakers. Below are my picks.
1. Cinnabar Farms (Kodaikanal)
It is the breakfast at Cinnabar Farms – a well-known farmstay removed from the busy Kodi town – that makes it worth the trip to the woods. It features their own garden veggies, homemade bread, jam, and cheese. You can chill in this colonial style home and also take a 3-day cheesemaking course, besides shopping for Cinnamano, a hard Italian-style cheese you can only find here.
2. Vellambrosa (Bangalore)
Farms and all are okay, but to find good cheese crafted in the cities is rare, and yet this unlikely cheesemaking initiative is a hit with such big hotel chains as The Leela, Taj and The Oberoi. Fondly called ‘the monk who makes cheese’, the man behind Vellambrosa is Father Michael of the Vellambrosan Benedictine Congregation, and the delicious cheese such as Caciotta and Pecorino help provide financial support to Gaulbert Bhavan, the congregation’s Bangalore seminary.
3. The Cheese Collective (Mumbai)
TCC is the brainchild of Mumbai-based cheesemaker Mansi Jasani. Being a true-blue Bombay venture, it does things with panache. TCC conducts cheese appreciation classes and workshops, besides creating irresistible gift packages of their ‘curated artisanal cheeses’ like gruyere (a Swiss cheese) and camembert (French variety). Browse their selection here.
4. Caroselle Dairy Products (Kodaikanal)
Another southern awesomeness is Caroselle, whose cheeses are way better than their website. What’s more, they are 100% vegetarian in that they only use microbial rennet (rennet is the enzyme that initiates the cheesemaking process and it is obtained from the inner lining of a calf – so we know when all else is banned at least this cheesemaker will be around ha). It is started by Mukund Naidu, ex-engineering student from Bangalore, in partnership with New Zealander David Hogg. Their mozzarella is perfect.
5. The Spotted Cow Fromagerie (Mumbai)
Another vegetarian venture, The Spotted Cow Fromagerie is the creation of Bombay-based food photographer Prateeksh Mehra and his brother. They specialise in creamy cheeses to die for. They make it right there in the basement below their house in Bombay, and the final products that come out are sent to such popular restaurants as Indigo Delicatessen or sold on order to independent buyers. It’s their Bombrie that will restore your faith in good homemade cheese.
Image Credit: Pixabay